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Degrasse State Forest

hikingprimitive campingpaddlingfishinghuntingtrappinghand boat launchicon key

Degrasse State Forest is composed of 1,180 acres and was established for the purposes of reforestation, wildlife management, timber production, recreation, and watershed protection.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

There are 3.44 miles of multiple use trails that provide access from Nolan and Cole Roads. The property also provides large undeveloped areas well suited for hunting, hiking and nature viewing.

Camping

primitive camping

General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

There is a primitive campsite located at the end of the unpaved access road off of Cole Rd. There is also a pit privy, picnic table and lean-to located at this site.

At-large primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

Paddling

paddling

General information on paddling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

This property features a hand boat launch launch located on the South Branch of the Grass River, as well as over 3.7 miles of frontage along the river.

Fishing

fishing

General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations

There are 10.3 miles of public fishing access rights along the Grass River, both along this state forest and the surrounding areas. We currently stock three sections with brown trout, the Russell area, Donnerville State Forest and above and below Degrasse. The upper section of the branches have wild brook trout populations.

A pamphlet is available with maps of state lands and public fishing rights that depicts the Public Access for Fishing the Grass River (PDF 341 KB).

North Central NY Fishing provides information on fishing in the area and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.

Hunting & Trapping

hunting
trapping

General Information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations

Wildlife

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Directions

From Degrasse: Head west on Route 38 for 1.1 miles and turn right onto Nolan Road.

  • Pull off on Cole Road (44.363141°N, 75.083628°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Hand boat launch (44.3681946°N, 75.07724°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Degrasse State Forest must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Specific Rules

Mountain biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are allowed on the property; however, there are no trails on this property currently maintained for these activities.

How We Manage Degrasse State Forest

A 1930s photo looking south towards degrasse
A 1930s photo looking south toward Degrasse

DEC is developing a unit management plan (UMP) which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us information.r6@dec.ny.gov.

Many of the properties purchased by the state in the 1930s and early 1940s were exhausted farmland with little tree cover. The first priorities after the establishment of a state forest were to reforest the land, prevent soil erosion, and minimize the threat of wildfires.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played an active role in the early protection and development of this forest. Crews from Camp S-134 in Pierrepont accomplished the following tasks on Degrasse State Forest in 1936 and 1937:

  • Planted over 896,000 trees on 606 acres, with the major species being white pine, red pine and white spruce.
  • Cleared and maintained 5.5 miles of fire line.
  • Constructed 3 waterholes for fire control.
A picture looking south towards degrasse in 2012.
Looking South Towards Degrasse in 2011

The white pine plantation in the accompanying photos was planted by the CCC's in the fall of 1936, using 3 year old tree seedlings. Periodic improvement thinnings have been used to reduce overcrowding, improve tree vigor, and remove trees damaged by insects and disease. Portions of this stand were thinned in 1972, 1977, 1979, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 2010. In 2010 the planted trees were 77 years old and averaged 14 inches in diameter and 60 feet tall, with a total volume of 17 thousand boardfeet (MBF) of sawtimber per acre.

The topography is variable with upland areas supporting a mixture of northern hardwood, hemlock, and white pine forests. Pine and spruce plantations were established on what were formerly farm fields and pastures. Flatter ground supports open wetlands and shrub swamps, which gradually transition to swamp hardwoods and white cedar in seasonal flooded areas.

This area was damaged by severe windstorms in 2004 and 2008. In the following years, 79 acres of storm damaged timber were salvaged, yielding 83 thousand boardfeet of cherry, maple, and birch sawlogs, 228 cords of pulp, and over $43,000 in revenue.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

DEC Lands & Facilities

Information regarding where to find amenities

  • Gas, lodging, dining opportunities, food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Canton, Degrasse, Edwards, Gouverneur, Hermon, Russell and Star Lake.

St. Lawrence County tourism (leaves DEC website) and St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Postwood Park and Stone Valley Trail (leaves DEC website) are nearby facilities that offer excellent recreational opportunities.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.